Posted on Feb 6, 2020
Joshua Obenauf
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I'm an LPR with an MS in biology (Duke Uni., GPA 3.96, ASVAB 90) enlisting in the Army on a 4 year contract. Once I become a citizen;
- how soon will I able to submit my DC packet? As soon as I'm a citizen, or 1-2 years into my enlistment?
- how long does the process from submission to approval take, assuming I'm approved?
- I'm eyeing specific AMEDD non-medicine AOCs. Will I face stiff selection competition for such AOCs from officer candidates graduating from ROTC/OCS & other military academies?
- is there a chance that I might not be able to DC at all within my 4 year contract at which point I might have to get out of army & DC as a civilian?
- any other catches, tips, tricks I should know about this process?

Really appreciate the info.
Posted in these groups: Imgres Direct CommissionGeneral_of_the_army_rank_insignia Officer
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1LT Environmental Science and Engineering
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Edited >1 y ago
Once you're a citizen, you can actually apply, and subsequently get selected, while you're serving your enlistment. If selected, you don't need to finish out your enlistment contract; you'll attend the Direct Commission Course/Basic Officer Leader Course, without a break in service. However, if you complete 4 years of enlisted time, you'll qualify for the O1E to O3E pay scale, which is significantly more money.

To apply, you'll need to contact an Army Medical Recruiting Station in your nearest big city. This recruiting station is a separate entity from the typical enlisted recruiters in the mall. They will guide you through the process of building/submitting a Direct Commission package. The Selection Board typically gathers once per year (in October), reviews the packages, and makes their selections before the end of October. You'll likely need to have your package complete by August of the year you intend to apply.

With the exception the 70B MOS/AOC, all AMEDD DC Officers are selected via the direct commission process, so you won't be competing with ROTC, OCS, or USMA graduates. You'll compete for positions with other people submitting a DC package for your Area of Concentration. For Microbiology, the competition can be stiff if you only have a Masters. They typically get enough qualified candidates with a PhD. However, consider applying for the 71E AOC, Clinical Lab Scientist. Most people selected for this AOC have only a Bachelor of Science. Microbiology is one of the preferred degrees for 71E, and with a Masters, you'll actually have an advantage in the selection process.

The process takes about 6-7 months from the time you're selected (Oct), to the time you attend DCC/BOLC (around June/July of the following year). You don't officially get paid as an officer until day 1 of DCC.
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Joshua Obenauf
Joshua Obenauf
>1 y
Really appreciate all the great information you have provided here. I am actually eyeing 71E but don't have an MLT certification. Do I still stand a chance with an MS and about 3 years of civilian lab experience? Or would a fresh-of-out college BS with an MLT cert and no experience or a BS with equal years of experience as me and an MLT cert bag this AOC over me? Additionally, while I am enlisted, can I attend a community college to get my MLT cert while simultaneously working on my direct commission packet?

I do not want to wait out on completing 4 years of enlistment before I commission, I would really like to commission as soon as I can. I am aware that new slots open up in october each other, but are there times when one or two slots for a certain AOC might open up in the middle of the year?
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1LT Environmental Science and Engineering
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Joshua Obenauf - Credentialing is only one factor they judge on. The selection board will also give you credit for relevant experience and education (especially graduate education). 68W is a jack of all trades MOS, and would certainly look good on your commissioning package. Selection boards generally tend to favor prior service personnel with medical MOS experience. If you're willing, I'd try this route: start a second Masters program (online) that has the right accreditation, in Clinical Laboratory Science. Additionally, try to earn the MLT cert from a community college. I believe those two things would nearly guarantee your selection by the board, and you'd enter as a 1LT/O2E.

With a general MS in Biology, and 3 years experience, I personally think you'd qualify above people with only school/credentialing. But that's a question for the Medial Service Recruiter. Usually for 71E, non-clinical lab degrees they take are biochemistry and microbiology, along with a few others. If your MS focused heavily on physiology, parasitology, immunology, etc, I'd say you'd have a good shot. Just thinking out loud, if you use your enlistment time to work on an additional masters in clinical lab science, and get the MLT cert, along with citizenship, you'll be kicking the door down in terms of getting selected.
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1LT Environmental Science and Engineering
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Also, if you can score the 68S enlisted MOS prior to signing your enlistment contract; with a MS in Biology, you'd be directly competitive for my AOC, 72D, Environmental Science and Engineering Officer.
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Joshua Obenauf
Joshua Obenauf
>1 y
Appreciate the info. I'm already enlisted as 68W and this MOS is about as far from my lab-roots as it could be :/
72D is another AOC I'm eyeing when I put in my DC packet but don't know if it's something I would like to do looking term because it won't be a lab based position.
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